After the craziness of recent days, Mitt Romney is cruising to the victory that has long been expected, currently with around 37 percent of the vote. Fox News is reporting, too, that Romney got more of the late deciders than anyone else, with 32 percent. All of which suggests that Gingrich’s and Perry’s hysterical Bain Capital attacks didn’t hurt him much.
Where do we go from here? Ron Paul finished second, and he has a constituency in every state, so he can keep going as long as he wants. But no one, including Paul, pretends that he has any chance of actually winning. Jon Huntsman finished third with 17 percent, which undoubtedly represents the high-water mark of his campaign. It is hard to see him doing anything in South Carolina. With just 10 percent of the vote apiece, Gingrich’s and Santorum’s campaigns would seem to be on life support unless one of them makes a spectacular comeback next week. Finally, Rick Perry brought up the rear with a shocking–for a former front-runner in the polls–1% of the vote. Perry said he would reassess his campaign after Iowa, but didn’t. Maybe now the time has come.
At the moment, it is hard to see a plausible path to the nomination for anyone other than Romney.